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Naira Misuse: Cubana Chief Priest, EFCC Consider Out-of-Court Settlment

Renowned celebrity mixologist and entrepreneur, Pascal Okechukwu, famously referred to as Cubana Chief Priest, is currently exploring the possibility of resolving the allegations of Naira misuse levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) through an out-of-court settlement. These allegations were brought forth by the anti-graft agency at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

During the recent court proceedings on Thursday, Cubana Chief Priest’s legal representative, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chikaosolu Ojukwu, revealed this intention to the presiding judge, Justice Kehinde Ogundare. Ojukwu further informed the court that both parties have expressed interest in settling the matter in accordance with section 14(2) of the EFCC Act.

Highlighting the potential reconciliation process, Chikaosolu stated that upon confirmation of the agreement by the EFCC, they would pursue the withdrawal of the defence’s preliminary objection. In response, EFCC prosecutor, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari, acknowledged the defence’s stance and informed the court of the Commission’s ongoing review of the application.

Following this acknowledgment, the defence counsel proceeded to formally request the withdrawal of the preliminary objection. With no objections raised by the prosecution, the court granted the request.

Consequently, Justice Ogundare adjourned the proceedings until June 5, to receive an update on the settlement status.

In a previous development on April 17, Cubana Chief Priest was arraigned by the EFCC on three counts related to the alleged spraying and mishandling of Naira notes during a social event at Eko Hotel, Lagos. He entered a plea of not guilty and was subsequently granted bail set at N10 million, with two sureties of equivalent financial standing, who must be employed either by the Federal or State Government at grade level 16 or above.

Additionally, the sureties are mandated to possess landed property within the court’s jurisdiction, subject to verification by both the prosecution and the court. Furthermore, Cubana Chief Priest was required to surrender his travel passport to the court’s custody.

The bail conditions are to be fulfilled within seven days, during which he remains in the custody of his legal representative, who has undertaken to ensure his presence at the trial. Failure to comply may result in his remand in a correctional facility.

It’s noteworthy that in a similar incident back in April, the EFCC had arraigned controversial cross-dresser Idris Okuneye, popularly known as Bobrisky, on comparable charges, leading to a six-month jail sentence.

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